Who would have thought that a mature babe like me would fall “head over heels in love” with a man much younger than me? A man, by most standards, that fits the ”tall, dark and handsome” description. A man that is polite; humorous, amorous, concerned about the welfare of people he knows, and would willingly do anything for someone that needed help.
He sounds ideal so what’s the problem? Simply put, he is not interested in me; not because of the age difference because that doesn’t seem to matter. Not because we are not compatible, because we have a great time together; not because our sex life is bad, because it is great, but because he has been burned before and is afraid it will happen again. He promised himself that he would never, ever, make another commitment to a woman, and he wants to stick to that promise. It became such an issue that he decided not to see me again. Ever. He felt that I was becoming too attached – I was – and he was afraid of that attachment. And, although he has sort of admitted it – he, too, was becoming attached.
I almost cannot function until I hear his voice in the morning – on the phone. I tremble and shake if he does not call me – or if I cannot reach him. I worry about him when I don’t hear from him, and the weekends are the worst. During the week I sometime bump into him, but because he lives quite a distance away, and because he has a second job in Riverside County, there is no chance of seeing him Saturday or Sunday. He usually doesn’t have his phone on, so I have no way of reaching him. (I truly think he turns his phone off just so that I can’t reach him.) Yet when we do talk, no matter what day it is, or what time it is, he is loving, friendly, and never seems annoyed that I called him.
His friends think that he should be dating and so they fix him up with women that they know. So far none of those dates have become second dates. Am I so terrible to be glad of that? The thought that he is out with another woman when I have such feelings for him sends me into a deep depression that takes hours, even days, to recover. I try to tell him that I am not attached to him, but my every movement, every gesture belies that statement. All he needs to do is look into my eyes and know my thoughts. I have never had that experience before even though I have been married two times.
So what is the answer? I have tried to stay away and not call him. Then he calls and asks if everything is all right and I ask why he is calling, he tells me it is because he hasn’t heard from me. Is he speaking out of both sides of his mouth? I think – or perhaps I want to think – that he really has become attached and is afraid of the consequences. That is all well and good, but where does that leave me?
Several weeks ago I overstepped my bounds. We had gone out for a massage, dinner, and I expected him to spend the night. Unbeknownst to me that was not his plan. When he took me home and said “goodnight” I was a sulky, petulant woman. He later told me that it was at that moment that he knew we could no longer have a romantic relationship. When he walked out that door I knew it was over, and sank into one of the deepest depression I have ever suffered in my life. The closing of that front door was so final I thought I was acting in a Grade B movie.
Several days later he came over so we could talk. And he said that the only way we could continue seeing each other was as “good friends.” He said he knew he could “tell me anything without any judgment on my part. “ He has never had that kind of relationship with a female before. I feel the same way about him. And so, when he comes in the house and gives me a kiss, or a hug, or both, my hopes soar that maybe we can become romantically inclined again. And each time he reminds me that we are only great friends – never lovers again.
Depression is a funny thing. Life is going on all around me and I do not feel a part of it. I know that I am in a crowded room, but I do not see – nor feel – anything. I have a visual image of myself looking like a zombie to others. Yet I know that is not what I am projecting, because people come up to me and talk to me and I am able to carry on a conversation that, on the surface, appears to be normal. I even smile and laugh at things being said to me, but the emotional part of me is missing. It is buried in layers of “what ifs” that will not ever happen as much as I will them to fruition.
Last night we went out to dinner. It was a nice dinner and we held hands when we were not eating. To the left of us was a party of 8 older people celebrating a birthday. The woman on the end kept glancing over our way and finally I heard her say, “that couple is so much in love”. So amusing, in a macabre sort of way, because once again he was telling me that the “romance” part of our relationship was over and it would never be restarted. When we left I asked him to kiss me – which he did – because I wanted the woman to be happy in her thoughts – and –quite frankly, I wanted the kiss.
As he has done several times before, he walked me to the door; came inside and played with my dog; hugged me and kissed me good night and went home. It wasn’t even 7:00pm yet. The loneliness was so great that I am sure if you were with me you could have felt it. Everything around me was hollow – the silence deafening. I put on the jacket I had just removed and left the house. I could not bear to be home, even though my dog and one of my students were there.
This morning he came over to put some blind spot mirrors on my new car mirrors. He came in the door and gave me a kiss and a hug. In the garage he gave me another kiss and a hug. When he left 15 minutes later he gave me a kiss and a hug. That is not to say that he generated those gestures. Of course not. I did, and he followed suit. I called him twice since he was here; spoke to him a few minutes each time. He is leaving on a trip tomorrow and will be gone 5 days. That means there is no chance I will be able to see him during that time. He promised he will call me – he promised not to tell me if he meets an attractive female and goes out with her. And what will I be doing while he is enjoying himself with his friends? Holding on to the phone waiting for his call. All day, all evening. I have packed things into my schedule for the days he is gone. It won’t matter. I am so possessed by this man that even when I go through the motions of having a good time, it will be a sham.
Yes, I need help. I have, in fact, scheduled an appointment with a therapist for the first available date – May 18th. I hope I can hold everything together until that time. No, I am not suicidal – my dog depends on me. But one more ironic twist – if something were to happen to me my “friend” will take my dog, because, unfortunately, the dog loves my friend almost as much as I do.
Depression comes in many forms I am finding out. After my husband died my Primary Care Physician prescribed anti-depressants to help me get through each day. She didn’t prescribe just one kind; she ended up prescribing 7 different ones, but none of them helped me except to make me tired so I could sleep – practically all day! What is this new therapist going to prescribe? Medications? I won’t take them. (There probably aren’t any left that I haven’t taken anyway.) Will I be told to forget this man and move on with my life? (Like I can do that.) Keep busy – (I’m trying). Wake up and act like an adult? (Because I have some of the same feelings I had when I was a teenager.)
All I do know that compared to so many people in this world this is a minor – albeit annoying – glitch. It doesn’t compare to when I was diagnosed with breast cancer; it doesn’t compare when my husband was told he had lung cancer; it doesn’t compare to the sinking feeling I experienced when my 13 month old granddaughter passed away from what was thought to be SIDS. It doesn’t compare to any catastrophe that others are going through or have gone through. But to me, it feels like I am in a gully, and the sides are so slippery I can’t get a grip to pull myself up. I posted two sayings to face book last week: “ Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are NOT a sign of weakness. They are signs of having tried to remain strong for too long.” Is that me? Am I finally collapsing because I have no more strength to get out of this quagmire? The other posting is one that would make me feel so much better if it were only possible to achieve: “One of the BEST FEELINGS in the world is when you hug SOMEONE YOU LOVE, and they hug you back even TIGHTER!”
The answer is out there somewhere. I will periodically address the progress of regaining my sanity if anyone is interested. It is to be noted that this is not a ploy for sympathy. Far from it. I do not want sympathy from anyone. I am trying to understand what is happening to me, and hope that others can relate to the feelings I am generating. I have too much left in me to accept this mental anguish without a fight. And I am good at “fighting the fight.”